Natural Disasters

Observations from Hurricane Ian. A period I’ll never forget | by Brandon Landgraf | Engage | Jan, 2024

A period I’ll never forget

A hotel’s insides ripped out. Photo by the author.

On September 28th, 2022, at 3:05 PM, Hurricane Ian struck Fort Myers Beach, Florida, as a Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds.

Ian was one of the most devastating hurricanes we’ve ever seen, causing a record $112.9 billion in damage and destroying countless homes and businesses. Years later, the effects are still being felt in the form of an insurance crisis, tarped roofs (yes, people still haven’t had their roofs fixed), and remnants of destruction throughout the surrounding areas.

When Ian struck, I lived in Port Charlotte, just an hour and fifteen minutes north of Fort Myers. While we didn’t see quite the magnitude of devastation compared to Fort Myers, there was quite an impact.

I’d never been in a natural disaster, let alone one like the horror of Ian. While this was indeed an eye-opener, it was an opportunity I am grateful for as it allowed me to photograph a piece of history we’ll never forget.

These are my observations.

One of the many boats ripped apart and ran aground. Photo by the author.

The Hours Leading Up Are Like Being Stalked by a Predator

The hours leading up to a hurricane are filled with uncertainty. Questions about where it will land, how severe it will be, who will be hardest hit, and how much things will change swirl through your mind.

There’s this eeriness in the air as if a predator stalks you in a crowd of people. You know it will pounce, but the big question is, who will get the brunt of the force?

You might prepare a lot and get a little of the impact. Or worse, you might prepare a little and get walloped on. I’ve learned it’s always best to over-prepare rather than under-prepare.

The weather leading up to a hurricane is relatively calm. It’s very cloudy with a drizzle of rain as if Mother Nature is marinating us later to drench us with pounding winds and drenching rain. There, indeed, is a calm before the storm, and it’s rather antagonizing.

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